The El Reno Survey Project: Crowd-sourced Database Development, Synchronous Photogrammetric Observations and 3-D Mapping of the Largest Documented Tornado
Internet searches identified at least 250 chase teams that observed and obtained imagery of the El Reno Storm. Solicitations to the storm chaser community for participation in the project, extended via various social media outlets, resulted in responses greatly exceeding initial expectations. As of July 2014, 77 registered participants have contributed their imagery and data resources to the project database for unrestricted research purposes, and others continue to enroll. Participation involves a two-step process, whereby registrants submit an online form providing metadata and a narrative of their chase experience, and then upload video, still images and GPS logs. The project database contains what is likely the largest archive of visual material ever compiled for a single tornado. This data will become accessible to all interested users from the Madison Severe Local Storms meeting onwards through a simple registration process.
This presentation will describe the survey approach and detail methods developed to precisely fix the time and location characteristics of uncontrolled storm chaser imagery to make it usable for scientific purposes. Collation of synchronous multi-perspective imagery also enables the generation of some first-ever three-dimensional products, such as mapping of extremely intense sub-vortices and 3-D animations of important phases of the tornado's evolution. These methodologies employed by our survey are presented as a new model for post-storm data collection, with templates and instructional materials being created to facilitate replication by interested parties for both past and future tornadic storms of special research interest.